While thinking about shipping your car to another city or state, you may want to consider driving it yourself. However, it’s a misconception among people that transporting a car by themselves will save them some money on the car shipping cost.
One should also consider the extra refueling and lodging costs. Not to mention that driving hundreds of miles can be tedious, exhausting, and plain inconvenient. If you are transporting more than one car with you as the sole driver, driving them all by yourself is out of the question.
Here you can consider hiring a car shipping company. But the first question that will pop into your mind is the car shipping cost. But there is no single answer to that query, as many factors influence transportation costs.
Some are controllable, whereas others are out of our control. However, you can minimize the effect of some factors to reduce shipping costs. In this post, we’ll discuss several ways to reduce your shipping car cost but in a realistic way. Keep reading.
Reducing the Car Shipping Cost
Before we mention how to reduce the cost of shipping a car, here’s one thing you must consider. Don’t hire a transport company that offers you services at a cheap rate. It may seem tempting to you at that time, but because the cost is negligible, these companies compromise on the quality of shipping and customer service.
As a result, you’ll either face late delivery, poor customer service or receive your car in a damaged state due to the bad quality of transportation. That said, let’s move on to the part where we tell you how to reduce your car shipping cost.
Avoid car shipping in peak season
Peak season is the most significant factor that can affect your shipping costs. It’s the time when shipping is in high demand, and there is less availability of carriers, trucks, and containers.
The busiest time in shipping lies in the summer season, from August to September, when people try to move to a new location. In the winter, from January to February, there is also a higher demand because people usually transport their cars from colder regions to warmer ones.
If you are not in a hurry to transport your car, the ideal time is to choose the off-season to reduce car shipping cost. This is the time when shipping companies don’t have a whole booked slot and can offer affordable rates.
Besides, you can book in advance. The companies encourage customers to reserve at least 72 days in advance to avoid unnecessary costs and delays. But if you need to ship your car during peak season, you can still secure a low rate.
You can time your shipment carefully by choosing to ship in the opposite direction of the high demand. These are called return shipments that a carrier has to make anyway.
Choose the terminal-to-terminal option to reduce shipping cost
You do not always have to choose the door-to-door option to ship your car. It is more expensive because it involves picking up your vehicle from your home and dropping it off at your desired location. However, there is another cheaper option.
Terminal-to-terminal transport involves delivering and pickup your car from the nearest terminal to your house. Since the shipping company doesn’t have to pick up and deliver cars individually, it reduces the economies of scale.
Most often, the car trailer cannot get inside if the streets are narrow. Other times the distance between the terminal and your location is too short for you to hire a door-to-door transport service.
All you have to do is do a little research, and you may find the nearest terminal to your location at both ends of the transport. Next, deliver your car to the terminal, and the rest your shipping company will handle.
But you’ll have to take care of picking up your car on the same day that it arrives at the terminal. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the storage fees, which will add to your car shipping cost rather than reduce it.
Also, you’ll have to sign a Bill of Lading when picking up your car from the terminal. But you can always send someone to your place if it is inconvenient for you to travel.
Flexible car shipping dates
Being flexible on exact shipping dates can help minimize your shipping costs. Your car shipping company will provide a pick-up and drop-off schedule. But if you choose the exact pickup and delivery dates yourself, the extra cost can add up to your shipping charges.
Allowing the company to pick up a schedule is a great option to cut those extra charges, as it also needs some time to arrange for a carrier. This will also help avoid situations where the mover will make lots of stopovers or your car will be unloaded and loaded again to get other vehicles out of the way.
You can ask about the most expedient dates from your shipping company. Some transport companies will offer you a discount if you select pick-up and delivery dates that are not busy.
Or you can also reduce car shipping costs if you don’t give an exact pick-up or delivery date. But also keep your convenience in mind, and don’t opt for a date when you won’t be able to pick up or deliver your car to the terminal.
Choose open transport to avoid high shipping cost
If you are not shipping a vintage or classic car, choosing an enclosed transport will only incur extra shipping charges. Although closed car carriers protect against weather or debris, they can also cost you 50% more than open ones.
You can reduce this cost by opting for open transport for your regular vehicle. An open carrier is a good choice for regular cars, and the chances of damage during transit are rare. In fact, most shipping companies use open car carriers as their default transport mode. That’s why there is more availability of carriers with open trailers, and transport companies can offer shipping at competitive prices.
Also, professional transport companies take careful measures to ensure your car remains safe during transit. So, an open car carrier won’t negatively impact your overall shipping experience.
Transport a Sedan instead of an SUV
If you have multiple vehicles but want to move only one, consider shipping the smaller car. The shipping cost can vary depending on the size of the vehicle. Firstly, heavier vehicles are expensive to ship, such as an SUV because they take up more space on the carrier.
This means there are fewer vehicles to load, resulting in less profit for the carrier. Secondly, heavier vehicles take up more effort and time in loading and unloading, which means more fuel, labor, and loading/unloading machinery costs.
As a result, the shipping charges are more for heavier and larger vehicles. The larger the car, the more costly it will be to transport. However, similar vehicles don’t have a meaningful price difference in shipping costs.
Ship multiple cars to save shipping costs
If you want to ship multiple cars, you can ship all of them in consolidated shipping, meaning you can send them all at once. Rather than transporting your vehicles one by one, you can hire the services of one shipping company.
You also won’t have to decide which car to ship through a transport company and which you want to drive yourself. This will reduce your car shipping expenses.
Many shipping companies will offer a discount if you transport multiple cars because they won’t have to go to different terminals to retrieve your vehicles. Nevertheless, if you save time and miles for your shipping company, you are reducing your own car shipping cost at the end of the day.
Get quotes from multiple car shipping companies
As mentioned above, don’t rely on a shipping company whose deal is too good to be true at a cheaper rate. Be wary of cheaper options, as they can be major scams. Look around and research the ongoing shipping rates in the market. Make sure to get quotes from multiple shipping companies.
However, it doesn’t mean you have to pick the most expensive option to get good quality services. Most companies will offer you a rate that won’t differ except for a few hundred dollars or less with each other.
Therefore, pick a company that gives you the best-personalized deal regarding your car shipping needs and is worth your money. Also, ensure that the company you pick up has proper insurance and licenses. After all, your car is a huge investment, and you don’t want anything wrong to happen to it during transit.
Many shipping companies provide free shipping quotes through calculators on their websites. You can enter your vehicle’s size and weight, the location where you wish to ship, and other information.
The calculator will give you an estimate of how much it will cost to ship your car. If you are new to car shipping, this method is transparent and convenient for obtaining shipping cost estimates.
Look for available shipping options for overseas transport
If you are shipping your vehicle overseas, your chosen shipping method will factor into the overall car shipping cost. There are two options available for international shipping. One is RoRo, an open shipping method, and the other is container shipping, which offers enclosed transport and is a bit expensive.
If you want to ship regular cars, you can choose RoRo. It involves driving your vehicle on the vessel at the origin and driving it off after the ship reaches the destination port. As RoRo doesn’t require labor and machinery for loading and unloading, it is cost-effective. You can also ship a whole fleet of cars with this shipping method.
However, if you want to ship personal effects or household items alongside your car, you can choose container shipping. Although it is an expensive shipping option due to the security its enclosed space provides to the cargo, you can still reduce car shipping cost.
By choosing the Less than Container Load (LCL) option in container shipping, you can share the transportation costs with other shippers. LCL involves sharing the space with other people’s goods. So, you’ll only have to pay for the area your vehicle and goods will occupy.
However, LCL can cause a delay in shipment because the ship will only embark on its journey after the container fills. So, booking your shipment in advance is best to avoid unnecessary delay.
If you were dreading the car shipping cost, most probably, you’ve learned how to reduce it by reading our post. You may not be able to control some factors that can affect the cost to ship a car, but nevertheless, you can choose the most affordable options.
You can ship multiple cars at once, avoid shipping in peak season, and choose open transport to reduce shipping costs. For international shipping. RoRo or LCL is also a good option for transporting regular cars.
Another way to reduce shipping costs is to hire a professional, experienced shipping company. Consider working with AFL to obtain the best possible shipping experience regarding shipping at competitive pricing, personalized quotes, and professional customer service.
With the help of our auto transport haulers and robust network of carriers, we cover 157 destinations worldwide. Whether you wish to move your car locally or overseas, we can handle your documentation, shipping, and customs clearance in no time at all. If you require us to provide you with a pick-up and delivery of your car, we can do so at your convenience. To get a free estimate, contact us today!